A Tankard Of Ale - online songbook

An Anthology Of 120 Drinking Song Lyrics

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INTRODUCTION 1

 

I
With the advent of the social reformer the very word
'  beer ' seems to have taken on a sinister sound, and is as much tabooed in polite society as the word ' trousers ' was once said to have been. This harmless and refresh­ing drink has become credited with the most devilish properties and characteristics, so that when it has to be discussed (and Heaven only knows how much the thought of it disturbs the minds of meddlesome philanthropists!) it must be referred to under the alias of ' alcohol' or
' the drinking habits of the lower classes.' Officialdom has beer on the brain—which is quite the wrong place for beer to be.
There is little wonder then that convivialty is a lost art and that in consequence the making of drinking songs has suffered a bad decline. ' Simon the Cellarer,' it is true, may still be allowed even among Nonconformists, but as it deals with ' Sack ' and ' Canary ' no real Puritan objection can be raised. In fact these somewhat heady
1 The publication of this anthology having been deferred till the end of the War the first section of this Introduction has already been included in a volume of my essays, " Carven from the Laurel Tree," published February, 1919, by Mr. B. H. Blackwell.
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